Mirror Mirror - 2019


2019 - A Year of Rage Against the Status Quo

By Jennifer Allen

Was it cast for the mass who burn and toil?
Or for the vultures who thirst for blood and oil?
Yes, a spectacle monopolized
They hold the reins and stole your eyes
~ “Guerilla Radio" by Rage Against the Machine

While we are now into the first month of a brand new decade in the 21st Century, one can't help but look back at this past year and the sheer amount of turbulence which struck the news media from month to month. From Brexit to potential presidential Impeachment, the whole world was struck with a sense of “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going take this anymore!" to quote the famous line from Network. Even though that film came out in 1976, the speech feels more relevant now than its release nearly 40 years prior.

We now live in a society where reality TV is king, tabloid journalism is just reposting the same stories with all the wrong facts, and media in general has taken on an “anything for ratings" philosophy instead of simply posting the news as it is. At the same time, your computer screens and social networks are littered with misleading “click bait" headlines to keep you on the page and politicians seem more interested in the finding businesses to finance their campaigns rather than speak with the voters they are representing.

But something changed in 2019.

There was finally enough collective anxiety and disorder in the world that somehow the human race finally decided that enough is enough. We had riots. We had mass shootings. We had work strikes. We had teenagers fighting for climate change. We had crooked political leaders and business moguls being forced from their positions. “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!" to quote another famous (and amusing) line from Ghostbusters. If there was anything out there to challenge in 2019, then oh boy was there some sort of uprising against it.

Keep in mind that some of the objections were extremely awful. We heard of shootings, bombings and other forms of terrorism from all over the world. The worst part is that it wasn't just one “type" of victim in each case either. There was the Taliban attack in Moscow, the suicide bomb attack in Kashmir, the Mosque shootings in New Zealand, bombings in Sri Lanka, the arson attacks in Japan, the lone gunmen shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Unfortunately violence is universal to humankind and doesn't discriminate on your gender, race, beliefs, or societal upbringing.

On the flipside, we also saw many political leaders in countries such as Italy, Bolivia, Albania, Haiti, and Kazakhstan step down due to various revelations of their personal behaviors being brought into light. We also saw more and more stories being unearthed about certain business executives (such as Jeffrey Epstein) and their associates with every sort of crime from sex trafficking and abuse to money schemes. Obviously it's not safe anymore in this quasi-Big Brother world to have a secret life that could land you in jail or worse. So many things in this world now are filmed, posted, and reposted by this handy dandy device that many of us have in our pocket or bag. There are no secrets anymore, and your dirty laundry will surface one way or the other no matter that your status may be. We will just have to acknowledge this for the time being.

A form of protest that was especially good this past year was that many more countries either rescinded laws banning homosexuality or finally permitted same-sex marriage. While there are still countries that still find the LGBTQ+ concept to be “immoral", it's nice to see that a few more have become more open-minded and accepting.

Another bit of surprising outcry has been the strikes by teens against climate change, with its current spokesperson Greta Thunberg (and TIME magazine's 2019 Person of the Year) at the head of it all. It's understandable for the youth of today to be worried about the world of tomorrow as they will eventually be the adults who have to live in it. I just find it atrocious that many of Thunberg's opposition are middle-aged, conservative men who feel threatened by her intelligence and courage as a young woman, and respond in kind with insults laced with misogyny. While her fight is still ongoing, I think we will see more of her in the future as climate change becomes a growing issue to fight against the adults who have been challenged to behave like adults. Unfortunately, it's much easier to attack others rather than to look at ourselves, reflect on our own feelings and start to deal with them, like grownups.

I wonder now if this overall sense of righteous frenzy will continue to blossom in 2020 or slowly diminish. All I know right now is, things are changing and will continue to change whether we all want it to or not. One thing we can do is collectively continue to stick our proverbial head out of the window and shout out that we are all human beings and that our life has value. Because we all do…

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Martial Arts Pratticoner, and all around Geek.